Buttermilk (or Chaach) is a refreshing blend of all the nutritious elements, especially suitable to beat the heat in summers. It is best made with all the natural ingredients; half a cup curd whisked with half a cup water, 2 chopped curry leaves and few sliced green chillies, pinch of grated ginger and powdered cumin (jeera) seeds with salt to taste. Buttermilk is low in fat and reduces cholesterol and high blood pressure levels. Along with cleansing the stomach after a spicy meal it also aids in digestion and prevents acidity.
Dalia, made from broken wheat, is a healthy Indian breakfast cereal. It can be prepared in different forms such as milk porridge, vegetable dalia, dalia snacks, dalia pulao, dalia upma. Full of fibre, one bowl of dalia daily is recommended to reduce weight and prevent constipation. It has a low glycemic index and therefore a healthy food for diabetic patients. It is rich in calcium and iron, and its co-ingredients enhance its nutritious values, be it vegetables, milk or spices.
A purely nourishing and healthy form of a starter Indian dish is the sprouts, which can be combined with different food elements such as nuts or coconut and jaggery or vegetable salad, or made into curry or even eaten raw. Sprouts are the chief source of proteins and fibre, thereby aiding in weight lose. It contains vitamins vital for enriching skin and hair follicles and preventing growth of cancer cells, acne and premature ageing.
Bajra or Pearl Millet is a highly sought-after Indian grain, prepared in form of Bajra Roti or Bhakri or Khichdi, generally eaten with a bowl of pulses or vegetables to enhance the nutritive intake. It is a good source of energy, highly rich in proteins, fibre and magnesium, and is used to prevent cancer, promotes heart health and digestion and used to fight off diabetes.
Sattu is prepared from roasted gram flour and other cereals. It is a staple diet in many parts of India, especially Bihar and UP, where it is cooked as paranthas, laddoos, litti chokha and sharbat. It is highly nutritious and one drink of sattu energizes a drowsy person from the summer heat. Sattu has high protein and fibre content and has a low glycemic index and therefore apt for diabetic patients. It also helps reduce blood pressure and weight.
Dhokla is an indigenous dish belonging to the state of Gujarat, and is eaten as a starter, snacks or main course. It can be prepared from gram flour as well as split green gram. It is a steamed dish, without any oil or ghee, thus more pure and having high amount of calories. The fermented flour has increased nutritive value, whereas the pulses added are rich in proteins and fibre. Dhokla is prepared with a batter of gram flour, lemon juice, green chilli-ginger paste, ¾ cup water, ¼ cup vegetable oil, baking soda and fruit salt to taste, topped with coriander leaves, mustard seeds and curry leaves after steaming.
A Paratha literally means layers of cooked dough, and looks like flat bread. It is the most famous and perfect Indian breakfast element. It is high in protein and vitamin content and also contains carbohydrates. Many different kinds of stuffed or plain parathas are prepared all over India. It tastes especially good when served hot with butter or curd.
Raita is a yogurt-based side dish, famous in the Indian homes, accompanying paratha, biryani, kebabs, pulao etc. It can take many different forms by adding different ingredients. A healthy form of raita makes use of freshly grated cucumber and carrot, chopped onions, ginger, cumin powder, coriander leaves, pepper and salt to taste in one bowl of raw curd. It is good for the digestive tract because of the bacteria present in the curd. It is highly rich in calcium and Vitamin D and is a good agent against osteoporosis.
Idli is the staple South Indian dish made for breakfast and also eaten in North India as snacks. It is prepared by the fermentation of a batter of broken ground rice and urad dal with sufficient volume of water, yeast and salt to taste, by steaming the dough. The protein and vitamin content of idli increases on fermentation. It is a gluten free diet and contains carbohydrates, fats, and fibre and thus helps in weight loss. It is best combined with coconut chutney and sambhar.
Sambhar is a spicy lentil soup made with the mixed vegetables and tamarind broth. It is a famous accompaniment for South Indian dishes like idli, dosa, uthappam, vada and even rice. Sambhar is full of proteins and fiber and has a low glycemic index. It is a complete dish with various vegetables, spices, pulses and taste.
11 Brown Rice
Brown rice is produced only with its outer hull removed and therefore loss of its nutrient properties is quite less when compared with white rice. It is a rich source of fibre and has lower calories than the white rice. It is good for reducing weight, sugar and hypertension and is also healthy for the heart.
The best source of the essential oil, omega-3 fatty acid, lies in the fish, which is good for the eyes, brain, heart, hair and skin. It contains a lot of lean proteins and fibre and has less fat content. It is cooked as fish curry or fish fry with a lot of spicy toppings.
Rajma is an Indian spicy and healthy red kidney bean curry, best combined with rice or with chapatti as dal makhani, and can be prepared as Rajma fry or curry. Rajma is a rich source of proteins, and contains natural detoxifiers and antioxidants that keep the skin and hair glowing. Rajma is good for combating diabetes as it has a low glycemic index. It has high fibre content and also helps in preventing various diseases such as cataract, hypertension, migraine, asthma, rheumatoid arthritis.
Chicken is the most abundant poultry in the world and a rich source of proteins, next only to fish. It has low calorie content, contains all the essential minerals and vitamins, and helps reduce the risk of cancer, diabetes, and hypertension. It is prepared in a dozen of forms ranging from stew, curry, fry, masala to chilli chicken, salads, kebabs, grilled chicken etc.
15 Arhar Dal
Arhar (or Pigeon Pea) is a famous legume plant, consumed widely with rice, having abundant protein and folic acid content and therefore excellent for pregnant women too. It is also called Toor or Tuvar dal and is prepared as a curry with boiled arhar dal, onion, tomato, mustard seeds, curry leaves and different spices. It is packed with minerals like iron, potassium, magnesium, calcium etc. and is also good against diabetes and constipation due to its low calories and high fibre content.
Prawns (or Shrimp) are the next best sea-food after fish, and is famous largely over the East and South India. They can be served in variety of forms such as prawn curry, prawn fry, prawn pickle. Prawns help in weight loss as it has low-fat and high proteins along with calcium, phosphorus, and vitamins such as A and E.
Paneer (or Cottage Cheese) is a famous North Indian proteinaceous dish, especially for those who do not consume meat. It is a dairy product and contains less fat and calories, and has added vitamins and minerals. Like chicken, it is cooked in a variety of ways like kadhai paneer, paneer bhuji, paneer fry, shahi paneer, mattar paneer, paneer makhani, paneer tikka, paneer masala and many more. It has conjugated linoleic acid which aids in losing weight and is good for bones and teeth as well.
18 Brinjal Curry
Brinjal (or Baingan, Egg Plant) is a vital source of iron and calcium apart from other essential elements. It is rich in fibre and has low fat and calorie content with good amount of proteins. It lowers the risk of heart diseases due to natural flavonoids present in it and is also a help against arthritis. It is good for the skin and hair because of antioxidants contained in it. Brinjal is also cooked in a variety of forms, the most famous being the baingan bharta, followed by brinjal fry, curry, masala etc.
Palak (or Spinach) is the most amazing and important Indian dish containing high iron content, calcium, Vitamin D, minerals and fibre. It can be mixed with different vegetables to get different recipes like aloo palak, palak paneer, mutton palak, palak stew, mattar palak, palak dal, palak pakora, palak saag, etc. Spinach also contains omega-3 fatty acid and is good for glowing skin and hair growth. Palak is a healthy option for heart, prevents constipation, cancer and diabetes, and even increases sperm motility.
Jackfruit is the Jack of all fruits and is a complete sweet source of all nutrients. It is high in proteins, fibre, minerals, vitamins and calories but no cholesterol. It can be consumed as raw fruit or prepared as snack (jackfruit chips, kheer, halwa) or main course as curry which includes the seeds as well. Scientists term Jackfruit, which grows indigenously in the Western Ghats, as a miracle fruit which may soon replace rice and other vegetables or fruits because of its nutritive value.